Taxodium distichum 1994

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Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:05 am

I started my first job as a Horticulturist  at a Nursery in Durbanville Cape Town.  The year was 1993.

The Nursery Specialized in Indigenous trees but also the exotic.  My Boss Toos van den Berg, who is an avid arborist had a collection of trees in the back of her yard at home.  She did not really want to sell them, but amongst them was this 4m high Swamp cypress in a 200kg basket.  I fell in love.
I begged her for it and she sold it to me for R900.  This was an ENORMOUS amount for a 'first time worker' with a very small salary.  I paid it off, for the next 3 years as I worked there,  The tree stood in her backyard all that time.

Eventually I left her, and started my own nursery, and I took the tree with me.  I chopped it down to 120cm from 415cm.  I moved into a flat where the tree stood on the enclosed stoep under a skylight,  where it developed the most beautiful weeping habit.  I think the leaves just kept on growing because of the poor light.  I tried years after to get the same effect but couldn't.

The tree is now at its final shaping and all the wires have been removed.  I can't tell you how many times this tree had wires on, and getting the branches down from a ascending shape took years. ( that's before I found this forum, and realize that everything can be done much quicker)



Above:
I kept the tree in water, as you can see for about 10 years.  But it really makes no difference weather in or out of water.  I just liked the look and having Swamp cypress in water.  This foto was taken in 2002



Above:
This foto was taken in 2004.  My neighbours cats used it for a scratching post, and caused a lot of damage....but the wounds healed nicely and it had these long elongated scars running down the trunk.  At one place the bark split open and I started a shari  (you can see it on the left hand side where the trunk bends slightly) and 'hollow'at the base of the trunk. You can also see the 'scar tissue' midway up the trunk, its looks smooth and swollen.



Here the tree is still in a 'mess'  and the pot broke after a storm again.....thank god for it was very ugly!





The above two photos where taken in 2012 just after I joint this Forum, and drastic work started.....

The Photo at the bottom is the FINAL FRONT



The way the tree looks today.  The top was removed and dead wood was created.  I also joint the mid trunk shari with the top and the bottom hollow, so it runs all the way down the trunk now.  
I think this is the front and will put it like this in its final pot, which I haven't found yet.

I think she looks absolutely great and probably the tree, I look at the most in my collection.



The bottom two photos is the back. Me thinks,  But I constantly move her around...





What do you guys, did I do a great job or what?   Next year she will be 20 years in the making and probably 26 years old.  And I LOVE her.

Love and light

Andre Beaurain
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:42 pm

Hi Andre

Love your "casestory"...the tree is very special to you Smile 

I like the taper on the tree...based on only the branching would I go for the second last Photo as the front, with some changes in the canopy....but in the end would I probably go for the third last Photo as the front, based on the roots...still with some changes in the canopy.

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Andre',

love her as well!

Tried home owner's insurance, by the way Smile 

Khaimraj

like and twilight

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:03 pm

Ok Yvonne I'll bite. Please tell me what changes you'll make, and thank you! The Front without the roots use to be the front for years....

Thank you Khaimraj!, ...and is there nothing you would change?

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:39 pm

Hi Andre
You already did a good job.
It aint much I would do difrent....made the small changes...Now I may prefer the third last Photo as the front...only would I turn the tree a little more to the right

on the second Photo would it only be to shorten the branches in the top.
I would not mind to see the slightly more turned tree if you have a Photo.

Kind regards Yvonne...how tall is the tree now?

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:18 pm

Here we go, sorry about the light reflecting on the sheet. I treated the hollow with lime again for it was rotting a lot.

You cannot see the shari clearly, but it is actually running from top to bottom. I will shorten the branches in time, but not as much as you will. You have more guts that I do Yvonne!

O , I forgot to mention that the hollow started with the cats scratching, but then it got borer as well, which I had to cut out... Was not my intention in the first place, and I never really liked it...

Its still 120cm tall, Which pot will suit it best?

Love and light




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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:12 pm

Hi Andre

I wanted the tree to the other side Smile 

The branches can not be taken in quikly, only what you dare at the time...my suggestion can be too much for the tree now...I would want the branches refreshed, with the use of new leafes...having them cut a Little by Little untill the branches is less stiff

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:08 pm

O....and ahhhh

Will take the photo tomorrow, the sun...she has gone down....

Love and light
ps Anyone else?

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  JimLewis on Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:11 pm

Bald cypress in South Africa. Wow!

It is a very nice tree, with one exception -- and this is MY opinion only, for those who always disagree -- that biggest branch at the top is too large for the tree at that height.

If it were my tree, I'd remove it (something will sprout there again), but at the very least I would shorten it by at least 1/3 and remove one of these two forked secondary branches.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  GerhardGerber on Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:57 pm

Hi Andre

This thread put a grin on my face because I got confirmation of what I suspected - we are about the same age and we come from roughly the same place....min of meer Very Happy 

Knowing what I do now and IF I had a choice I suspect I'd have chosen a road in life close to what you did.......I didn't and I don't so that's history.

The point of all this?

The 20 years between me and having trees like yours Cool 
cheers 
Very nice. I would like to commend you on looking outside and having the courage to change and improve your trees based on what you learned from the international community.
I get the impression this is not the case for a lot of bonsai practitioners in SA and Namibia...... Suspect 

Question - are Swamp Cypress more common in SA now? I'm sure my sister's neighbour in Fishhoek had one in the yard, but I have to ID over a boundary wall from a distance, not sure.
I'm also eyeing some Mexican Cypress growing in my town, but the google searches aren't promising.....

What else are you hiding in your back yard???? Very Happy  Cool 

Cheers
Gerhard

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:17 pm

Great to see one of my favorite species of tree has made it to the other side of the world. I too like the taper you were able to work into this tree. The naturally ascending branch structure is hard to fight. You have styled it much in the form of our eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) which is good. I like your tree as is, well done, it will get better in the future.

My personal preference is for naturalistic styles, but it is OK in my mind to style a tree into a shape that is not typical for a species, as long as the shape looks natural. Your tree has a natural feel, and the hollow at the base does not look contrived. Time will age the shari at the top. You might want to work a little more in the future to eliminate the tool marks (flat planes) of the top most shari, make it look more like it broke, rather than was carved.

For what it is worth, I thought I'd attach a few images of bald cypress in the wild. In nature Bald Cypress almost never have an intact top once they are over 500 years old. Time takes it's toll. Here is a photo of the oldest bald cypress in the state of Illinois, estimated to be about 1300 years old. The knees from this tree start 0.5 km away from the trunk, about 1/4 mile or 2 city blocks away.  




Rather than hijack your thread with more images I started a thread in the Lounge for photos of bald cypress in the wild with more of my images.

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t14307-bald-cypress-in-the-wild#147311

Leo Schordje
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:40 am

Yvonne Graubaek wrote:Hi Andre

I wanted the tree to the other side Smile 


Kind regards Yvonne
Is this the angle you wanted Yvonne?  I think I've showed now all the angles .

I know what you mean by the branches being less stiff.  But actually I wanted one tree in my collection that is very formal with very straight branches,  hence it ending up this way.

But I will probably listen to you guys anyway in the future of this tree.  But for now I really like the long and stiff branches.  I did do a virtual for myself with the branches cut the way you said.... and I must say it does look stunning!  But my heart is not strong enough yet...hihihiii


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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:44 am

JimLewis wrote:Bald cypress in South Africa.  Wow!

It is a very nice tree, with one exception -- and this is MY opinion only, for those who always disagree -- that biggest branch at the top is too large for the tree at that height.  

If it were my tree, I'd remove it (something will sprout there again), but at the very least I would shorten it by at least 1/3 and remove one of these two forked secondary branches.
Jim thank you so much, and I think Yvonne has the same idea. I will go with it in the future, but this season I'm going to leave her like this, standing in front of my bedroom window, where I look at her in the morning while having my morning Lemon. hihihihiihi

I will probably only shorten it by a third as you say, and getting rid of the fork, which ,since you pointed it out bothers me now....damn.

Love and light

Andre Beaurain
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:55 am

GerhardGerber wrote:Hi Andre

T
Very nice.  I would like to commend you on looking outside and having the courage to change and improve your trees based on what you learned from the international community.
I get the impression this is not the case for a lot of bonsai practitioners in SA and Namibia...... Suspect 

Yes this was indeed very difficult.  And having posted my first tree my Eugenia, Syzygium paniculatum('MY virgin brush cherry'), on here,  they sugested  that I remove the bottom branhes shorten it and remove the roots.  I thought about it for, I think a month, whereupon I did it, and had immediate regret, I was almost in tears.  But hell you must see her Now...almost an show tree.  So if you want to listen to the experts, it will take a LOT of guts, but well sworth it!! hihihihi

Question - are Swamp Cypress more common in SA now?  I'm sure my sister's neighbour in Fishhoek had one in the yard, but I have to ID over a boundary wall from a distance, not sure.
I'm also eyeing some Mexican Cypress growing in my town, but the google searches aren't promising.....

Yes, you can find them everywhere, they do very well here.  One of my favourtie exotic trees.

What else are you hiding in your back yard???? Very Happy  Cool 

Well you wont believe...I'm saving the best for last....You'll just have to wait, I have 72 bonsai that I love, and many that I hate...still....  My favourtie tree is an enormous White Monkey thorn in the Pierneef style, that you will weep over, I'm waiting for the right day to post her.

Love and light my friend 


Cheers
Gerhard

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:00 pm

Good god LEO

That is absolutley amazing, do you have more pics of swamp Cypresses. A 'knee' spread of 500m, get out!! Why do they have knees? They almost never form then out of the ground, is that right? Please post more on here, it is very inspiring .

By the way why do you call them Bald cypress?

Thank you for the compliment, it really means a lot to me cheers 

Love and light.

And Thank you Gerhard, I think I forgot to thank you....

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:02 pm

No Andre...this is still not my maybefront Smile
 

I want theese two roots be equal exposed to the front.

Do you actuly to eat lemon in the morning?...respect

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:43 pm

This one then....This is histerical Yvonne, Laughing Laughing  Or is it one in between the two?

Yes I have Hot water and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon in it. It causes a positive charge in the body, besides the fact that is super healthy and detoxing. Be warned it is addictive....hihihiihii And after and hour I poison myself again with Coffee hihihihihihihi The circle of life.....



Love and light

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Guest on Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:16 pm

Hi andre

This is not the front...please just show a Photo in future of the Progress Cool 

I will now go and eat a sour aple ( witch I prefer) and afterwards will I try to kill my self little with a coffee.

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  GerhardGerber on Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:00 pm

Well you wont believe...I'm saving the best for last....You'll just have to wait, I have 72 bonsai that I love, and many that I hate...still.... My favourtie tree is an enormous White Monkey thorn in the Pierneef style, that you will weep over, I'm waiting for the right day to post her.
Waiting with baited breath Andre! Cool 

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:25 pm

Leo Schordje wrote:Great to see one of my favorite species of tree has made it to the other side of the world. I too like the taper you were able to work into this tree. The naturally ascending branch structure is hard to fight. You have styled it much in the form of our eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) which is good. I like your tree as is, well done, it will get better in the future.

My personal preference is for naturalistic styles, but it is OK in my mind to style a tree into a shape that is not typical for a species, as long as the shape looks natural. Your tree has a natural feel, and the hollow at the base does not look contrived. Time will age the shari at the top. You might want to work a little more in the future to eliminate the tool marks (flat planes) of the top most shari, make it look more like it broke, rather than was carved.

For what it is worth, I thought I'd attach a few images of bald cypress in the wild. In nature Bald Cypress almost never have an intact top once they are over 500 years old. Time takes it's toll. Here is a photo of the oldest bald cypress in the state of Illinois, estimated to be about 1300 years old. The knees from this tree start 0.5 km away from the trunk, about 1/4 mile or 2 city blocks away.  




Rather than hijack your thread with more images I started a thread in the Lounge for photos of bald cypress in the wild with more of my images.

http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t14307-bald-cypress-in-the-wild#147311

This thread should be required reading before ANYONE touches a bald cypress. Thanks Leo and John.

Russell Coker
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Leo Schordje on Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:48 pm

Twisted Evil  Russ, it is ok to style a tree in a style that it does not usually take in nature. Most bonsai styles are a not exactly what happens in nature. We don't require table ware and fine pottery to look like lumps of clay from the wild, do we? I am saying this in good humor, because my preference for my own trees is to go more naturalistic in style. But I also raise Satsuki, and the various styles used for them are not at all like what they would do in nature. A satusuki on its own would be just a tall shrub with just a tuft of leaves at the tips of every branch, all upward bound, often ending up sort of flat topped. Little interior branching, just long bare twigs reaching toward light, tufts or pads of leaves at the ends. So I do embrace the fact that we can apply any style to any tree, if we like. Of course the results will be a compromise between the tree's natural growth pattern, and the style we try to impose. Fortunately, the formal upright is not hard to do using the natural growth pattern of a bald cypress. I think we should help Andre see how to do his vision better, the formal upright. And then encourage him to start a second Bald Cypress and try his hand at a more naturalistic, low dome or "flat top" as John says. The more styles tried the more we learn. (Please read the tone of this post as humorous,)

@ Andre, I think it is called 'Bald' cypress because more trees that are called Cypress in the USA are evergreen. Bald Cypress drop leaves in winter, especially in the northern half of its range. During winter they are 'Bald'.

Leo Schordje
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:33 pm

Leo Schordje wrote:Twisted Evil  Russ, it is ok to style a tree in a style that it does not usually take in nature. Most bonsai styles are a not exactly what happens in nature. We don't require table ware and fine pottery to look like lumps of clay from the wild, do we? I am saying this in good humor, because my preference for my own trees is to go more naturalistic in style. But I also raise Satsuki, and the various styles used for them are not at all like what they would do in nature. A satusuki on its own would be just a tall shrub with just a tuft of leaves at the tips of every branch, all upward bound, often ending up sort of flat topped. Little interior branching, just long bare twigs reaching toward light, tufts or pads of leaves at the ends. So I do embrace the fact that we can apply any style to any tree, if we like. Of course the results will be a compromise between the tree's natural growth pattern, and the style we try to impose.

I understand what you mean... satsuki and boxwoods... boxwoods make one helluva Live Oak, but Live Oaks don't make much of a bonsai!

Russell Coker
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Leo Schordje on Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:19 pm

Exactly!


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bald cypress

Post  abcd on Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:40 am

In the nature, this species is living always in the water, put your pot with the feets in the water all the time , your tree will grow better.

abcd
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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:38 am

Leo thank you for your kind words.  

One has to remember that styling bonsai like this was the Norm for years and almost every bonsai book taught you to do this in this way.  I only did what I new at the time.  Trying to shape this tree like a natural Taxodium will make it look not as nice.  Me thinks.

This obsession of trying to make the tree look like the one in nature, is also just a fashionable movement in bonsai and in 20 years time will change again as everything do.  

I mean that huge Taxodium in the wild is truly awesome, but do a bonsai exactly like that...and a million people will find something wrong with it...the top branches for instance will be tooo long ect.

abcd...  If your read everything, you will realize that my tree stood in water for more than 10 years.  And I can honestly say that it makes NO difference whatsoever.  The only thing that is positive about it, is that you don't have to water it so often...hihihihihi

Love and light
Russell I took no offence.  clown

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Re: Taxodium distichum 1994

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